This month architecture segment will cover the second landmark in Kuala Lumpur, the Masjid Jamek Kuala Lumpur. The masjid is also one of the oldest mosque in the Malaysian Capital. It is also the center of Islam in the city before the function been shifted to the new National Mosque. The mosque were also known as Masjid Sultan Abdul Samad, named after the Sultan of Selangor, His Highness the Sultan Abdul Samad.
British administration at this period of time adapting the use of Islamic architecture as the official design in developing public building in Kuala Lumpur, as can be seen from the mosque's design. Adapting the Mughal and Moor design, the wall's red and white stripes also greatly resembles the architectural design of mosque in Cordova, Spain. There are two major and several other minarets and mughal's design dome in the center.
The mosque construction was commissioned in 1909, where the British Administration at that time wants to provide a place of worship for the muslims civil servants. Thus, a mosque was built on the site of the first Muslim cemetery in Kuala Lumpur. The mosque was design by Author Benison Hubback, the acting Architect of Kuala Lumpur. He previously served in public work department in India. The mosque location is at the bank of Sungai Gombak and really near to the New Government Office (currently known as Sultan Abdul Samad Building).
The foundation stone was put by His Highness the Sultan of Selangor at that time, Sultan Sir Alaeddin Suleiman Shah on 23rd March 1909. The estimated cost for the construction was $32,615 where $20,000 of it were funded by the government. The rest is the collection from the people. It takes 9 months to complete. The opening ceremony were officiated on 23rd December 1909. Earlier, the jamaah will perform their ablution in the river nearby, as several steps of stair was also constructed into the river. It has been demolished nowadays due to the heavy pollution of the river. The masjid which among the oldest in Kuala Lumpur served as the center of Islamic activities in Kuala Lumpur until it was shifted to the new constructed National Mosque in 1967.
1. Trapped by two rivers
The location of the mosque which is at the confluence of Gombak and Klang rivers make it impossible for the government to expand the mosque to make it larger, especially to accommodate the rising size of congregation using the mosque. Even though renovation and expansion has been made several times in 1983-1984. The rapid development of Kuala Lumpur also taking its toll to the masjid as the mosque becomes trapped with no more room to spare and thus, makes the expansion of the mosque were no longer an option.
The name 'Kuala Lumpur' which literally means a muddy confluence is not just for show. The two rivers brought itself a heavy size of mud especially during the rainy season, and its become worse during flood. The mosque suffers from three major floods in 1926, 1971 and the latest in 2003. The mosque were covered with mud and the mosque's right side wall were also collapsed due to the cascade of water in the flood.